Sunday, September 25, 2016

Odd old foreign postcard


This old postcard reminds me, and probably just me, of that famous still from the 1961 art film Last Year at Marienbad — the surreal image in which people are posed in a garden where the shadows don't follow the basic rules of nature. This one has a similar sense of people posing awkwardly in a frame that doesn't quite capture reality as we know it. Or, at least, that's the vibe I got. You might just see it as an old, too-dark postcard. And that's fine, too.

The caption at the bottom states "Türkenschanzpark, Brücke."

Brücke is the easy part. It's the German word for bridge. And there's clearly a bridge in this image.1

Türkenschanzpark is a park in Vienna, Austria. It opened in 1888 and is located on the historic site of the 1683 Battle of Vienna. The land, once cornfields and meadows, was almost converted into a cemetery before the final decision to make it a park. It was created partially in the style of an English landscape garden. It contains ponds, streams, fountains and monuments to poets and composers. Today, it also includes a skate park.

The back of this postcard contains what might be a series of names or signatures. I'm not quite sure. Here's a look...


Finally, the Austrian-issue stamp is called, in English, "Farmer from Traun, Upper Austria."

It was part of series focusing on costumes and folk customs and was first issued in 1934.

Footnote
1. Related post with a brückeOld postcard showing Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge) legend.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book cover: "Snow White and the Giants"


  • Title: Snow White and the Giants
  • Author: J.T. McIntosh, a pseudonym of Scotland's James Murdoch MacGregor (1925-2008)
  • Cover artist: Carl Cassler
  • Publisher: Avon Books (S347)
  • Cover price: 60 cents
  • Year: First Avon printing, May, 1968
  • Pages: 159
  • Format: Paperback
  • First sentence: Lunching at the Red Lion on roast beef of Old England, I glanced out of the upstairs window and saw, across the road, a girl in a pink suit.
  • Last sentence: About their world, I couldn't care less.
  • Random sentence from middle: I became aware, with some surprise, that I wore only my underpants.
  • Notes: The back-cover blurb states: "She was the fairest in the land. No matter where she came from — or when! Val called her Snow White because of her glowing pale skin and her blue-black hair. But her friends frightened him. They were too perfect to be quite human. They were too calm, too detached. When he discovered their powers, and the uses to which they meant to put them, Val knew the most awful of his fears had been more than justified!" ... The book is also known as Time for a Change. It was originally serialized in the science-fiction magazine If. ... Goodreads readers give the book a 3.56-star rating (out of 5), with one reviewer stating: "It's a very good time travel tale with all of the twists and turns one expects, but is also a good portrayal of a small, very traditional English town moving into a more modern, technological era with much different social conventions." ... This is generally considered to be one of McIntosh's better books. John Clute, co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, stated: "McIntosh never lost the vivid narrative skills that made him an interesting figure of 1950s sf, but his failure to challenge himself or his readers in his later career led to results that verged on mediocrity. His early work warrants revival." ... There is an advertisement in the center of the book to purchase Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy for just 10 cents, as part of an introductory offer for The Science Fiction Book Club.

Old postcard: Great Image of the Daibutsu in Kobe, Japan


I love this postcard and its framing, with the two small children in front of the towering figure. It must date to before World War II, because this statue, Hyōgo Daibutsu, was melted down in 1944 as part of the war effort and not replaced until 1991. With regard to that name, Hyōgo Daibutsu: It is located in Hyōgo Prefecture, and Daibutsu translates to "giant Buddha." It is the term used for all statues of this type.

This Buddhist temple, Nōfuku-ji, might date to the early 9th century and might have been founded by Saichō. One of his personal monastic vows was: "So long as I have not attained wisdom, I will not participate in worldly affairs unless it be to benefit others."

Nōfuku-ji went through major changes in the 20th century. A new central sacred building (honden) was constructed in 1953 but greatly damaged in 1995's Great Hanshin earthquake. And, as mentioned, the original Hyōgo Daibutsu was destroyed in 1944 and not replaced for nearly a half-century. This is what it looks like today. (The new face seems a little rounder, but they are very similar.)

By melveny - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40106028

Mary, writing on a blog called The Journey of My Feet, wrote briefly about a trip to this Temple in a 2012 post.

Here are a few zoomed-in details from the front of this unused postcard, followed by an image of the back.



Friday, September 23, 2016

Autumn awesomeness, postcards and castles of Germany

I recently did a direct swap of postcards with Postcrossing user Günter in Bochum, Germany, who sent me three fabulous modern postcards of iconic castles within the German landscape. They're too wonderful not to share. The first one features Hohenzollern Castle, surrounded by dazzling fall foliage. The castle site and history date to the 11th century, but most of the modern structures seen here are from the 19th century.


Here's another postcard of Hohenzollern, taken from a distance. As you can see, it is an isolated and well-protected stronghold, sitting atop a 2,800-foot mountain of the same name in the Swabian Alps.


The final postcard from Günter is the fairy-tale-esque Schloss Neuschwanstein, surrounded by mist. Did you know, by the way, that the 19th century Neuschwanstein contains a manmade grotto that originally featured an artificial waterfall and "rainbow machine"? That Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm (no relation) was a real character!


Here's one more recent postcard received through Postcrossing. It's from Tarja, who lives in Lempäälä, Finland, and loves gardening and her mixed breed rescue dogs. The postcard highlights autumn in Finland.


Previous posts featuring castles

(In my mind, I've had an overabundance of castle-themed postcards over the years. But in putting the above list together, I see that's not really the case. So I think I'll be upping the frequency of castle posts moving forward. We can never have enough castles, right?)

5 illustrations within 1918's "Puss in Boots, Jr. In Fairyland"

I promised last month to circle back and share some illustrations from Puss in Boots, Jr. In Fairyland (subtitle "Twilight Tales"), which was written by David Cory and published in 1918 by Harper & Brothers. The 147-page book was long ago given to Elizabeth Little as a "Christmas Greeting from Daddy" (though no year is listed) and it came into the possession of John Brake of Greenville, Virginia, in 1976.

According to Syracuse University Libraries: "David Magie (or MacGhie) Cory (1872-1966) was an American poet and an author of children's stories, among them the daily 'Jack Rabbit' stories, which were syndicated, and the Little Indian series. He was also a pioneer of radio broadcasting, working for WZJ in Newark, New Jersey. He came to writing after a twenty-year career as a stockbroker, beginning with stories invented for his children."

The Puss in Boots, Jr., series included at least four volumes, with other books titled The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Jr.; Further Adventures of Puss in Boots, Jr.; and Travels of Puss in Boots, Jr. The twist of the books seems to be that Puss in Boots, Jr., is transported by a magic rug into the world of fairy tales, nursery rhymes and mythology, and interacts with these tales and characters. So, in this volume, the chapter titles include:
  • The Frog King
  • Little Red Riding-Hood
  • Dickory, Dickory Dare
  • The Moon Cow
  • The Tremendous Giant
  • Back to Mother Goose Land
  • Sir Launcelot
  • The Fairy Dance
  • The Wicked Spider

Here are five illustrations from the book, for your enjoyment. I don't know who the illustrator is, but he or she used the symbol :K to sign all of the pieces.





Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tiny mystery photo of 3 children atop Daisy


This little found photo measures just 1⅞ inches across, and the image itself is less than 1½ inches across. So we have a nice opportunity, many decades later, to magnify it here for more detail.

There is also some writing on the back to help us out:
"Jerry, Eddie and Barry on Daisy — Jeanne is holding the reins."
That's it. No further information is available.

Here's a closer look at everyone from this snapshot of what looked like a happy moment. (Even Daisy doesn't seem too stressed about having three little ones her back.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

1970s summer comics nostalgia with Thing and Vision, Episode X

"Ah ... Star Wars!
Nothing but Star Wars!
Give me those Star Wars.
Don't let them end!
Ah ... Star Wars!
If they should bar wars...
Please let these Star Wars...
Stay!"

— Nick Winters, singing the iconic John Williams theme

I must apologize, because there have been some production delays and cost overruns on Episode X of Papergreat's look back at cool stuff in the May 1978 issue of "Marvel Two-in-One." But perhaps the wait was worth it. Today we have two full-page Star Wars-themed advertisements from that issue, for you to enjoy in all their glory.


First up is the above advertisement for the "Terrestrial chapter" of the Official Star Wars™ Fan Club. It's a little hard to take them credibly, though, when they think the R2-D2 sounds can be written out as Bleep-Zhwit-Pling-A-Pling-A-Flizz-Bloop. He wasn't an Alka-Seltzer! That's some droid translation weak sauce right there.

As you might imagine, given the ongoing popularity of the Luke-and-Vader-and-Rey universe, there is a long history associated with official and unofficial Star Wars fan organizations. In just skimming the surface of the "Official Star Wars Fan Club" in a Google search, I found an information and photo-filled post by Mark Newbold on starwars.com, this page on Fanlore.org, and this PDF copy of Volume 1, No. 2 of the club's newsletter (from 1978, via JediTempleArchives.com), which delves into one of the early Star Wars controversies — why didn't Chewbacca receive a medal from Princess Leia.

Per this advertisement, the Beverly Hills-based fan club offered the following membership perks 38 years ago: a poster, an iron-on T-shirt decal, a jacket patch, a Star Wars book cover, a newsletter, a membership card and much more. (But not a free set of Ginsu knives.)

All this came at a cost of $5 in the Jimmy Carter era, which would be the equivalent of about $18 today.


While everything about the first advertisement had trademarks and copyrights and language about OFFICIAL merchandise, the above page, hawking Heroes World Superhero Merchandise from Dover, New Jersey, is somewhat the opposite. The text at the top of the page of the page screams DARTH VADER LIVES. But, after that, there are some curious spellings that make me wonder if they were sad attempts to skirt copyright issues. (Also, that's a nice hoodie Darth Vader is sporting.)

The sale items included a Lord Darth Vadar [sic] costume for $4.69, plus shipping, and a battery-powered "SST Lazar Sword" for $7.95, plus shipping. The "lazar sword" is described this way: "Turn the switch and the giant 36 inch laser lights a glowing blue or red — it's all yours and thoroughly tested — safe! The soft plastic tube is battery-operated and with light filter!" (Did SST stand for anything, by the way?)

Other items available included Star Wars books, artwork and blueprints.

Epilogue: In the mid 1990s, Heroes World and Marvel joined forces for a comic-book distribution deal that proved disastrous for the entirety of the industry and spelled doom for many smaller comics stores. In today's robust era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and all its associated merchandise (including a reborn comics market), it's interesting to note that the comics industry was nearly dead in the late 1990s, mostly of self-inflicted wounds.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Vintage advertising card featuring a monkey and a cat (Post #2,000)


It looks like these beleaguered folks are having a Case of the Mondays.
(Or is that a Case of the Monkeys?)


This vintage advertising trade card, which is 4¾ inches wide and in poor shape, is titled "The Monkey and the Cat's Paw" and features two people entering a room to discover Major Shenanigans involving a monkey, a cat, a sewing machine and a basket. Assuming they were aware that they had a monkey and a cat living together in their house, I don't know why it would surprise them that this kind of thing happens. Monkeys and cats can co-exist peacefully sometimes, but certainly not always.

Leavitt & Brant is the company name that's printed on the front of the card. It was located at 409 Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts.

The back of the card is a mess, thanks to glue and tearing and other Crimes Against Ephemera. It does mention that medals have been awarded to Mrs. B.A. Stearns for an "Improved System of Dress Cutting." So belated congratulations to her for that.

"Ladies" who want to learn more about Mrs. Stearns' method and see the wonders offered by the New Home Sewing Machine Company1 are invited to visit the 409 Washington Street location.

As a final aside, I'm not sure whether the card's title — "The Monkey and the Cat's Paw" — is related to the Jean de La Fontaine fable "The Monkey and the Cat," but the history of the latter makes for an interesting read, if you have your own Case of the Mondays and are seeking something interesting on Wikipedia.


Note
This is the 2,000th Papergreat post. (For a useless apples-and-oranges comparison, only 278 Major League Baseball players have ever achieved the 2,000-hit mark.) This adventure started back on November 25, 2010, and has featured a lot of postcards, book covers, chickens, and more over the years. So thanks for reading! If you're interested in where the name Papergreat came from, read about it here. If you want a sampling of some of the posts that I had the most fun with and am proudest of, check out the Best of Papergreat label. And if you had to read or share just one post to convey the idea of what Papergreat is about, I'd recommend "Eight awesome things you'll never find inside e-books."

Footnote
1. The New Home Sewing Machine Company was also mentioned in this November 2014 post.